RI ESG Briefing, December 11: Responsible ship recycling platform goes live

The latest responsible investment developments


Some 415 investors with $32trn in assets under management have called on global governments to take greater action on climate change, in what is claimed to be the largest ever intervention from investors over climate. They call for a “meaningful price on carbon” and the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies.

A “modest” 1.07% of green investments were reported under France’s Article 173 climate law for 2017, against 1.05% in 2016, according to new analysis from sustainable finance body Novethic, part of the Caisse des Dépôts Group. It looked at responses from 100 leading French institutional investors with €2.4trn in assets under the Energy Transition Law.

WWF is readying itself to launch the Asia Sustainable Finance Initiative early next year, with a view to ramping up the region’s green activities. The NGO will bring together investors, regulators, academics and other stakeholders to develop best practice around sustainable finance and provide some harmonisation between the growing number of national and cross-border ESG initiatives in Asia. The Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA) was launched in 2001 but absorbed into the global Principles for Responsible Investment in 2015. Since then, there has not been a body dedicated to fostering ESG investing in the continent. Meanwhile, WWF has launched its European Asset Owners: Climate Alignment of Public Equity and Corporate Bond Portfolios report.

The Actuaries Institute in Australia has launched a climate index as an objective measure of extreme weather conditions and changes to sea levels, to help policymakers and businesses assess how the frequency of weather extremes is changing over time. The Australian Actuaries Climate Index includes a number of sub-indices.


Domini Impact Investments, the US investor, has released Shifting the Investment Paradigm, a major new work reporting on its project to look at the systemic effect of investment decisions – and how investors can intentionally create positive influence on systems.

In an effort coordinated by ShareAction, 15 investors with assets totalling over £180bn (€199bn) including NEST, Strathclyde Pension Fund and Candriam Investors Group are writing to FTSE companies – such as Severn Trent, United Utilities, Vodafone, and certain construction companies – to encourage them to accredit with the Living Wage Foundation.h6. Governance

A new online platform to encourage responsible ship recycling has gone live, backed by leading shipping firms as well as ESG research house GES, Danish financial services group Nykredit and banking giant Standard Chartered. “With transparency on shipping companies’ ship recycling policies and practices, it becomes possible for the industry’s stakeholders – including shippers, lenders, investors and insurers – to make informed decisions,” they said in a statement.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, the US regulator, is set to discuss ESG disclosure this week. A discussion on sustainability and ESG disclosure is on the agenda at the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee on December 13.

Japan’s powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has launched a SDG Management / ESG Investment Study Group, to look at the Sustainable Development Goals and environmental, social and governance issues. “The study group will focus on approaches for Japanese companies to incorporate SDGs into their management and those to leading such introduction to attract ESG investment,” METI said in a statement. The group will meet once a month and publish a report early next year.

A six-point new code for the corporate governance of large private companies in the UK has been launched. The Wates Principles provide a framework “to help them not only meet legal requirements but to promote long term success in this vital sector”.

The global treaty banning cluster munitions is having a major impact on limiting investments in these weapons. That is one of the conclusions of the Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions report released by PAX and the Cluster Munition Coalition.

Edentree Investment Management, the UK “profit with principles” fund firm, says it has integrated gender diversity into its overseas voting policy without exception as of this year, having done so for its domestic voting policy since 2016. It has already resulted in opposing the re-election of several Chairs of Nominations Committees in the UK and overseas, it said in a new briefing on the issue.

The Investment Association, the UK fund managers’ body, has written to 32 companies in the FTSE All-Share index that have appeared for the last two years on the ‘Public Register’ that tracks significant shareholder dissent. The IA said the Public Register has revealed that an increasing number of companies are facing shareholder opposition, with rebellions up by just under a quarter in 2018.